Intereconomics - Review of European Economic Policy 50 years Intereconomics
Twitter   Twitter

Newsletter – Volume 51,
May/June 2016

The May/June issue of Intereconomics spreads a wide net over the economic policy issues affecting Europe, and never forgets that economic policy is about more than GDP growth and interest rate cuts. Our Editorial looks at the macroeconomic costs and benefits of hosting large international sporting events, right in time for the football festival of Euro 2016 that will grip the continent’s attention for much of the early summer. Our Forum takes on a much more serious issue, in analysing the issues Europeans face in ageing, from pension reform to the relatively new concept of active ageing. The current issue also features a broad range of articles on topics such as the fight against long-term unemployment in Norway and Denmark, as well as an analysis of regional economic convergence in Europe. Our Letter from America focuses on the difficulties of reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the cornerstones of the US housing finance system.

We once again invite you to visit the special Intereconomics anniversary website, where you can see how the journal has evolved over the years and the people that have made the journal what it is today.

Please follow us on Twitter at @intereconomics_ for updates, events and interesting economic findings.


Featured Topic

Ageing in Europe

Europeans used to have a reasonable expectation that they would be taken care of by the state in old age. However, there is now much anxiety across the continent about the meagre pensions awaiting retirees. One major factor is the well-documented demographic transition of many rich European countries, as greying populations have led to increasing dependency ratios, causing social security systems to buckle. The Great Recession and the resulting austerity measures have also contributed to the problem. This Forum looks at the new reality of ageing in Europe – an important issue that will affect all Europeans at some point in their lives.

50th Anniversary Website

Explore Our Archives

To commemorate the journal’s 50th anniversary, Intereconomics has opened its archives and created a new website that looks back on the major economic topics covered in its pages over the last half century. We invite you to peruse a selection of notable articles – on topics ranging from the collapse of Bretton Woods to the end of communism to the post-crisis turn to austerity policies – written by Nobel laureates like Gunnar Myrdal and Joseph Stiglitz and prominent politicians like German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. These articles shine a light on the prevailing economic thought as major events unfolded.

Additional Highlights from the Current Issue

The Organization and Economics of Sporting Mega-Events

In light of the imminent commencement of the UEFA Championship in France and the Olympics in Rio, as well as the prospective bids of Rome and Paris for the 2024 Olympics, it is an opportune time to shed some light on the benefits and costs of hosting a mega-event. Andrew Zimbalist (Smith College) casts doubt on the economics of these events for the host countries, arguing that they inflict unnecessary debt on their hosts and undermine sustainability concerns.

Regional Convergence in Europe

Convergence among regions is explicitly defined as a political aim of the European Union. Overall, NUTS3 regions have indeed shown a path of convergence since the year 2000, but there are huge differences among the regions. Many Eastern European countries and several regions in Spain and Portugal are characterised by a convergence process. However, the opposite holds for many regions in Greece, Italy and the UK. Henry Goecke and Michael Hüther (Cologne Institute for Economic Research) argue that the size of a region’s manufacturing sector is important for the process of convergence, and subsidies from the EU to the right fields of activity also have a positive influence on the probability of a region to achieve convergence.

Reforming Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac? Don’t Hold Your Breath

Over the past eight years, there have been many proposals to reform the US housing finance system, which is currently dependent on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Unfortunately, despite near-universal agreement that the current system must be reformed, none of the proposals have gotten far in Congress, mainly due to sharp disagreement on the structure of a new system and how to get there. Laurie Goodman (Urban Institute) describes the obstacles standing in the way of the creation of a more stable system of mortgage financing.


Quote of the Month

To all intents and purposes, Germany has been left with a system that has abandoned the goal of protecting people's standard of living.

from Florian Blank, Camille Logeay, Erik Türk, Josef Wöss and Rudolf Zwiener's Forum article Why Is Austria's Pension System So Much Better Than Germany's?


About Intereconomics – Review of European Economic Policy

Intereconomics is jointly produced by ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics and the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS). The journal appears bimonthly and features papers by economists that deal with economic and social policy issues and trends in Europe or affecting Europe. To submit a paper for publication, please visit the Submissions section of our website for relevant information.

Intereconomics is published by Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Newsletter Subscription

To unsubscribe from the newsletter, please visit the following web page, enter your email address, and click "unsubscribe":

To change your email address, please unsubscribe as explained above and then resubscribe using your new address.

Editorial Office

ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
Neuer Jungfernstieg 21
20354 Hamburg, Germany

Phone: +49 (0)40 42834-306/307
Fax: +49 (0)40 42834-262


Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)
Place du Congrès 1
1000 Brussels, Belgium

Phone: +32 (0)2 229 39 11
Fax: +32 (0)2 219 41 51